Beyond Curbside Takeout: How We Can Help Minnesota Restaurants

And how our restaurants are helping the community through COVID-19 challenges

So many of us want to help as businesses around us close for coronavirus quarantine. Restaurants. Friends. Neighbors. Everyone is in need. But we are stronger when we act as one, as community, to help everyone rise up. There are those of us still employed, still able to help. Here are some ideas:

Buy a T-Shirt, Make Community Meals Happen

Eric Dayton’s companies are stepping up to help Second Harvest Heartland in a couple ways. First, Chef Jonathan Gans and the Bachelor Farmer’s kitchen are being used as part of Minnesota’s Central Kitchen. They’re hoping to scale up to five kitchens (Alma is involved as is Chowgirls Killer Catering) and re-employ a bunch of laid-off hospitality workers (maybe 250). The kitchens will create 10,000 fresh meals a day and get them to people in need.

Why not buy this sweet T-shirt (above) for $25 and the proceeds will go to Second Harvest Heartland?

I bought one, and you have the ability to leave a tip as well. Or you can donate directly to Second Harvest Heartland, and 100% goes to the Minnesota’s Central Kitchen effort.

Support Heart of the House Foundation

This new non-profit organization founded by Gavin Kaysen (Spoon + Stable, Demi, Bellecour) and Alison Arth aims to provide support for its team members while restaurants are closed. Learn more here.

Buy Cocktails, Make Hand Sanitizer

Norseman Distillery has the ability to produce hand sanitizer to get it to first responders who need it, but the packaging for it costs money. They’re selling at-home, staycation cocktail kits: a 375ml bottle of Norseman Gin, vodka or rum along with 4 premixed non-alcoholic mixers. Each kit makes eight cocktails and includes local Minnesota Ice. $40, and all the profits go straight to the sanitizer effort. ORDER TODAY, and pickup Saturday March 21.

Or you can donate to their GoFundMe which is simply raising cash to buy sanitizer packaging. Vikre Distillery in Duluth, as well as Du Nord Craft Spirits and Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis are have launched hand sanitizer efforts.

Tip Your Favorite Server

I’ve been really interested in trying to get money directly to out-of-work hospitality people. The logistics of collecting money and distributing fairly—it’s almost unthinkable. That said, there is a grass-roots effort to collect Venmo and PayPal info for servers and bartenders, and you can give them money directly. Here’s the link to the Google doc with the people who have registered.

Curbside Takeout

I’ve spent much of this week collecting 800+ restaurants to embed on a map for If you feel comfortable getting take-out or delivery, now is the time to do so. Most restaurants are going to need to sell at least $10,000 worth of takeout to make this even close to worthwhile, so get to it.

Restaurants Helping Others

The best thing we can do is remember all the restaurants and chefs doing cool things, and go back and support them when things get back to normal.

Justin Sutherland has led an amazing effort to share his food, along with help from David Fhima and Target Center’s concession company Levy.

The Saint Paul Hotel is offering complementary meals to downtown St. Paul First Responders.

This is Corned Beef & Cabbage from March 19 – nice! They’ll do this from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through March 31.

Zen Box Izakaya is one of many offering a pay-what-you-can menu. Pay more than what you can, and they’ll use that to offset the meals of those who can’t afford it.

Rustica is closed, but some of the team is working to collect gloves from other closed restaurants to get to first responders and health professionals. E-mail Greg Hoyt to get involved with that.

Unideli is offering free soup for anyone who needs it. Call in, give them your name and how many orders you want. 612-208-0123.

I’ll keep updating this list as I learn about more great things people are doing, and more we can all do to help support this community.

For more information about Coronavirus and its impact on our community, click here.

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